Calling all start-ups

Morton Fraser_Austin Flynn
Austin Flynn
11 January 2022

One of the most satisfying aspects of the work that I do is being able to work with a client from start-up to exit, and of course everything in between. Over the years I've been involved in many start-ups, then advised on rounds of equity funding, the appointment of growing teams of staff, share options and other incentive plans, moves to larger, new premises, sometimes acquisitions of other complementary businesses, and ultimately a sale and a realisation of the founder's investment in the company, both the financial and emotional investment.

Given the vagaries of being in business, I also become involved from time to time in helping with the less pleasant aspects of the life of a business - occasional disputes with third parties such as debtors, competitors and sometimes staff and even outgoing directors. It's unavoidable, but the key is to deal with these blips promptly, fairly and with the benefit of good legal and accounting advice.

Becoming a long-term trusted adviser, part of the client's team, is the dream. When it happens, it’s both satisfying but also brings a particular sense of responsibility, which feels somehow different from the usual duty of care that we all owe to our clients as professional advisers. Start-ups are markedly different from other more established businesses that are at a different stage in their life cycle.

Given the number of start-ups in the UK, the key role that they have played and continue to play in driving the economy, and especially as we come out of the pandemic, it's great to see that Insider is now recognising that contribution with a UK-wide start-up competition. Scotland in particular has long been recognised as a great place to be a start-up, given the well-developed support network and the degree of collaboration between the public and private sectors in nurturing these companies, and I can testify to that fact from my experience of advising start-ups across the Central Belt of Scotland for the last 20 years.

If anyone is involved in a start-up, is advising one or would like to nominate one that has particularly impressed them, please have a look at this link.

Applications are already open and the final date for entries is 28 February so there is still plenty of time to nominate a start-up that you admire. The competition also caters for a wide variety of sectors (22 in total), so whether you're a fintech business or a food and drink specialist, a green business, a manufacturer, an online retail specialist or a professional services provider, Insider will welcome your entry if you have been trading in the UK for less than 3 years.

Also, if anyone who is thinking of entering the competition, or nominating an entry, feels that their start-up would benefit from a free, no-obligation discussion with me about how to optimise the start-up's legal framework, please contact me at Finally, good luck in the competition.


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